Product Updates

We are constantly striving to improve existing functionality and add new features to Sefaira. This is an ongoing list of changes to all Sefaira Products.

We recommend bookmarking this page as it is a good reference if you want to understand when and why something has changed in any of the applications.  

Date Change
2/23/2017

NEW FEATURE - TOLERANCE CONTROL FOR COMFORT RESULTS

Sefaira has a tolerance range that passes thermal comfort results just outside the set-point range.

Today we added control over the tolerance range via a settings link in the header of the comfort card.

More details on why we do it here.

Screen_Shot_2017-02-23_at_22.22.34.png

2/22/2017

BUG FIX - DISPLACEMENT VENTILATION

There was a bug introduced last week with a natural ventilation improvement that caused red-box errors to appear when running Displacement Ventilation projects.

This was fixed today.

2/22/2017

NEW FEATURE - COMFORT FEATURE FOR DRY BULB TEMPERATURES

Choose how often you expect zones to be comfortable and Sefaira will tell you what percentage of hours each zone falls within the setpoint range for occupied hours.

Click on each zone to get more information on how comfortable it is.

Use this information to test the viability or relative impact of passive design strategies on a natural ventilation solution and to validate the comfort of the HVAC system.

For more information click this link.

This is a substantial new feature - please feel free to provide feedback on how we can improve this feature or if you do not think results are reasonable.

Screen_Shot_2017-02-21_at_06.54.08.png

2/21/2017

IMPROVEMENT - NATURAL VENTILATION CONTROLS

We made further tweaks to natural ventilation controls today to reduce extra heating energy caused by windows opening too much in cold conditions.

- Windows now start to open at the mid-point between heating and cooling setpoints.

- Windows are fully open when space temperatures are 5°C / 9°F above outside air temperatures but now close very dramatically to be only fractionally open as the delta T increases.

2/21/2017

IMPROVEMENT - SEFAIRA FOR REVIT - GENERATE VIEWS VIEW NAMING

Generating Views in Sefaira for Revit delivers views that are analysis-ready. We have renamed the Sefaira views created by Generate Views to be as follows:

  1. Sefaira Daylighting Analysis View
  2. Sefaira Energy Analysis View
  3. Sefaira Walls - Exterior (for guidance only)
  4. Sefaira Walls - Interior (for guidance only)

The two analysis views are optimized for their specific study. This renaming should help you quickly select the best view to suit the analysis at hand.

2/21/2017  

NEW FEATURE - KEEP OUR USERS IN SYNC 

For Sefaira account administrators, within the Bulk invite page, you can now use a spreadsheet to drive the list of Sefaira users for your account. Learn more about this new feature here. 

2/20/2017

NEW FEATURE - BUILDING USE PRESET CONFIGURATIONS FOR DOAS AHUs IN NAT VENT TAB

Architecture / Strategies users who do not have control over the Air-side tab are not able to configure the DOAS air handling unit properly.

For non-commercial projects this was causing issues, especially when considering natural ventilation.

There is now a drop-down in the Nat Vent tab to choose a pre-set group of variables that configure the mechanical system according to 3 typical building types.

*** We have found a bug with this where it changes the HVAC system back to Fan Coil Units - this is being fixed***

2/18/2017

BUG FIX - RUN BUTTON NOT APPEARING

There was a bug introduced by a recent feature that meant the Update button was not appearing for users with some web-browsers.

This was fixed today.

2/17/2017

IMPROVEMENT - DEFAULT CHANGE FOR DOAS

The Design Airflow rate for the Air Handling Units is now based on the ventilation rate in each zone by default rather than the manually entered value of 1.5l/s/m2 (0.3cfm/sqft).

This makes it more likely to be correct for a wider range of projects. 

Systems customers can change the setting back to a manually entered value in the air-side tab.

2/16/2017

BUG FIX - SEFAIRA FOR SKETCHUP - ENTITY ASSIGNMENTS UPDATE AS MATERIALS CHANGE

Users reported that applying an opaque material to glazing did not result in that plane being tagged as a wall. (The plane retained its glazing tag.)

This issue has been resolved, so when you apply an opaque material to a glazing plane, the entity assignment will update automatically. 

2/16/2017

BUG FIX - SEFAIRA FOR SKETCHUP - ENTITY PLANE COUNTS UPDATE AS EXPECTED

Sefaira takes a WYSIWYG approach: visible geometry is analyzed and hidden geometry is not. Users reported that the plane count totals in the Entity Palette did not reflect this approach. 

The issue is now resolved.

2/16/2017

NEW FEATURE - PLUGIN USERS CAN NOW CANCEL A RUN

The Plugin supports quick iterative studies. Sometimes, you may kick off an analysis only to realize you still need to make a change or two. Use the Cancel button to stop the analysis so you can get your inputs just right before initiating a new run. 

2/16/2017

BUG FIX - BASELINE SELECTOR IN THE PLUGIN

Users reported that a baseline selection in the Properties section of the Plugin would not persist (i.e. the baseline would revert back to its previous state when a run was initiated).

The issue has been resolved: baseline selections now persist.

2/15/2017

BUG FIX - NATURAL VENTILATION CONTROLS

Some of the settings in the Natural Ventilation schedules for windows were causing windows to remain closed for some models at strange times.

We have changed the scheduling settings so this no longer happens. 

This should improve the overall performance of Natural Ventilation in terms of cooling. 

2/10/2017

BUG FIX - MONTHLY ENERGY CHART NOT SHOWING FOR NEW PROJECTS

The Monthly energy breakdown was not showing for newly created projects.

This has been fixed today.

2/10/2017

IMPROVEMENT - ANALYSIS DOES NOT INITIATE UPON PLUGIN OPENING

This year, we've made changes in the plugin to support more deliberate analysis. This latest improvement ensures that analysis does not initiate when you open the plugin. This is helpful when you are considering a large model that may benefit from some refinement before conducting analysis. So, rather than initiating a run before you're ready, Sefaira waits until the "Update Analysis" command is given before generating a performance assessment. 

2/9/2017

BUG FIX - RED BOX ERRORS IN NATURAL VENTILATION MODE

DOAS Systems with a heating hot water loop were often generating red-box errors in full Natural Ventilation mode because the heating hot water loop and zone unit fans were not switching off as intended when windows were open.

This was fixed today. It also improved results as it now correctly prevents zone unit fans and HHW pumps from being active when windows are open.

2/8/2017

NEW FEATURE - FIXED GLAZING

Tag glazing planes in either plugin as fixed to prevent them from being opened by Natural Ventilation calculations or included in Free Area calculations.

More about openness in this article here.

This is a great way to deal with variations in glazing across the same facade of a naturally ventilated building.

Note that all glazing defaults to operable except for curtain-walls in Revit which default to fixed.

Fixed glazing attributes are otherwise the same as operable glazing (SHGC, U-value etc).

2/8/2017

BUG FIX - UI NOT TRACKING SPACE USE CHANGES ON HVAC CHANGE

A user interface bug was causing space use allocations to reset on HVAC system changes with some combinations of zoning and HVAC systems.

This was fixed today.

2/7/2017

BUG FIX - REVIT LINKED MODELS

We fixed two issues with support for Revit linked models: 

  • Multiple instances of a Revit link now appear, whereas before only the first instance of the link would appear.
  • Daylighting visualization is oriented appropriately, whereas before, in some cases, it would not sync with the orientation of the linked model.
2/7/2017

IMPROVEMENT - UI STYLING

We've changed some of the styling and colouring for the zoning tab in particular to make it easier to tell when you are hovering over a zone and when you have selected (blue) or ignored (grey) a zone.

2/7/2017

BUG FIX - VAV WARMUP

We noticed during comfort testing that EnergyPlus was not applying warm-up to some zones properly for VAV systems and as a results zone heating was not properly starting until HVAC is on.

This is a bug in EnergyPlus that happens when the minimum turndown ratio is very low for small zones.

We fixed this by increasing the minimum turndown fraction during warmup from 0.001 to 0.01.

For most projects the impact on energy use will be negligible.

2/6/2017

BUG FIX - NEGATIVE VOLUMES

A very small number of models were throwing EnergyPlus errors when projects included tiny zones which were being parsed as having negative volume.

These zones are now discarded automatically so these errors no longer occur.

2/3/2017

NEW SETTINGS - NEW PLUGIN USERS DEFAULT TO E+

To support our continued transition to EnergyPlus as the sole energy analysis engine for our products, we have changed the default setting for new users from Fulcrum to EnergyPlus. This will only affect users who are new to the Plugin. If you have used the Plugin previously, your settings from your previous session should persist. 

2/2/2017

NEW FEATURE - FREE AREA .XLXS REPORT DOWNLOAD

Download a report summarising the free area score for all zones in an iteration from the header of the Free Area Criteria Card.

The report includes gross glazed area and space use type per zone as well as summary outputs for all zones.

2/1/2017

CHANGE TO THE DEFAULT ENERGY ANALYSIS ENGINE IN THE PLUGIN

We've made a change to the default settings to help new users quickly adopt an EnergyPlus-only workflows: The default Energy Analysis engine is now EnergyPlus.

This will only affect users who have never used the Plugin before.

If you are already an active user, and are currently using Fulcrum, your settings in the Plugin will persist.  

2/1/2017

IMPROVEMENT - CORE ZONE SIZING FOR CAV HEATING

Sizing days did not end up capturing sizing requirements for CAV heating coils in core zones.

Thermal comfort tests showed core zones with persistently cold space temperatures (below setpoint) in core zones during hours of low load because of this.

We fixed this by manually inserting a hand-calculated heating coil size for mid-floor core zones into the .idf file, based on the design airflow into the zone.

1/30/2017

BUG FIX - ENERGY PIE MISSING GRAPH FOR INTERNET EXPLORER 11

Some users running Internet Explorer 11 reported missing the EnergyPie graph and other energy graphics.

Today we fixed this bug.

1/26/2017

IMPROVEMENT - MONTHLY ENERGY TOGGLE IN PIE CHART

The monthly energy chart was previously located below the energy pie chart. Today we moved it into the same card as the energy pie chart.

It is accessed via an annual/month toggle in the energy pie chart (see below)

1/23/2017

CHANGE NOTICE - USERS SWITCHED TO "RUN ON DEMAND MODE"

Today we pushed all users into "Run on Demand" mode where an Update button needs to be clicked to generate a run

All customers were changed over. From now on all new customers default to Run on Demand.

You can still do automatic runs. Further information on run modes in this link.

1/19/2017

BUG FIX - REVIT: GENERATE VIEWS FAILING WHEN FILL PATTERN IS ABSENT

During the Generate Views process Sefaira looks for a Fill Pattern called "Diagonal crosshatch".

Before this recent fix, Generate Views would fail if "Diagonal crosshatch" was not found in the Revit project.

This fix creates a Fill Pattern for any affected user so that Generate Views completes successfully.

1/19/2017

BUG FIX - USER INTERFACE ISSUES

We fixed a couple of bugs relating to the activation of the Natural Ventilation tab.

We believe we have fixed a rare issue that leaves a user stuck on the projects page with an endless spinning-wheel. if you have this error please contact us support@sefaira.com .

1/19/2017

IMPROVEMENT - PROJECT SHARING WHEN NOT THE OWNER

Users can now share a project with someone even if they are not the Project Owner. Previously only the owner could add new users to a project.

Anyone with access to a project can also remove anyone else from a project so long as they are not the Project Owner.

1/18/2017

IMPROVEMENT - SELECT YOUR ANALYSIS MODE IN THE PLUGIN

You now have the choice to run Energy analysis, Daylighting analysis, or both at the same time.

Separating analysis modes ensures neither is unnecessarily constrained by the other. For example, EnergyPlus analysis lags when shading planes exceed 500. Daylighting analysis, however, can handle 500+ shading planes with ease. Decoupling the analyses ensures your Daylighting studies are not constrained by unrelated technical limits.

1/18/2017

IMPROVEMENT - CHANGES AND FIXES TO NEW USER HEADERS AND PRE-LOADED PROJECTS

New users get a header in the projects page that provides helpful links and guidance to get started.

We made a few changes to these headers, fixing some broken links and also providing direct access to sample models.

We have also changed the name for Strategies users to New Architecture which reflects the transition in our web-application.

New Architecture customers also now receive a Building Form Library (previously only added to Systems accounts) as well as the 3 demo projects.

1/18/2017

BUG FIX - VAV CONTROLS AFTER HOURS

Changes to VAV and CAV - Central Plant after-hours settings implemented Jan 9 2017 were found to have an E+ error. EnergyPlus was treating VAV boxes with a minimum turndown of 0 after hours as permanently off. 

At 9am GMT today we changed the VAV minimum turndown fraction to 0.001 after hours. 

This will ensure correct conditioning overnight to maintain set-back temperatures.

Expect a small increase in energy for VAV and CAV systems.

1/18/2017

IMPROVEMENT - ZONES LESS THAN 0.5m2 (0.9ft2) NOW DISCARDED

Zones either drawn in Skp or Rooms imported from Revit with an area less than 0.5m2 are now ignored.

These were previously causing EnergyPlus errors for some models (the minimum zone area E+ can handle varies but was always found to be less than 0.5m2).

This should reduce E+ errors from models that inadvertently have very small rooms or zones.

The zones still show in the web-application as having zero area but they are ignored from the actual E+ model (see below).

1/17/2017

IMPROVEMENT - SUPPORT FOR ENERGYPLUS v8.6

Sefaira now supports EnergyPlus v8.6. The EnergyPlus version is controlled on the project page at the project level.

The default version for new projects will remain v8.5 until all tests are complete. The version for existing projects will remain what it was until changed. 

1/17/2017

BUG FIX - STABILITY OF ZONING PLAN

The zoning diagram had a tendency to be late updating in some browsers which led to confusion as to the model being studied.

This was fixed today.

1/16/2017

BUG FIX - DAYLIGHTING VISUALIZATION SNAPSHOT FAILS TO CAPTURE ALL INFORMATION

In the process of transforming the UI to a static image, some elements were not being captured appropriately.

For example, the legend would be cut off, and the tooltips illustrating spot metrics would not render properly.

This was fixed today. Downloading a Snapshot should now deliver an output that is immediately ready for the client's review.

1/13/2017

BUG FIX - CHILLED WATER AVAILABILITY CAUSING E+ ERRORS

Chilled water availability was hard-coded to switch off whenever outside air temperatures were below 7.2°C. This caused some projects to produce EnergyPlus errors - specifically fan coil and other chilled-water DOAS systems with core zones that had high internal loads.

We changed the hard-coded threshold to -30°C today so chilled water is now available at all times. This error should no longer occur. 

1/12/2017

BUG FIX - DAYLIGHTING VISUALIZATION NOT APPEARING ON MAC

The Daylighting Visualization window would not return visualization results for Mac users.

This was fixed today.

1/11/2017

BUG FIX - EXCEL SIZING DOWNLOAD

There is a download icon in the results grid (see excel icon below) that supports downloading zone level HVAC sizing for Systems users.

There was a bug with the download for users running in EnergyPlus v8.5 - changes to parsing in the new E+ version meant that only zeros were reported for many outputs.

This was fixed today.

1/11/2017

NEW FEATURE - MONTHLY ENERGY SLIDE

A reporting slide can now be downloaded for the Monthly Energy Breakdown The slide will show the view selected so it can be customized to show cost, CO2, or a drill-down view in categories such as heating or cooling

.

1/10/2017

BUG FIX - PEAK LOAD CALCULATIONS FOR NATURAL VENTILATION PROJECTS

Peak loads were not being calculated properly for naturally ventilated projects because we were changing setpoints in EnergyPlus to control whether HVAC was on or off.

This was fixed today and now peak cooling and heating loads are calculated correctly based on the setpoints that are being used to control the natural ventilation system.

1/9/2017

BUG FIX - PERIMETER CORE ALGORITHM

For some models the perimeter core boundaries were being incorrectly cut short (see image below). This was fixed today (new interpretation left, old interpretation, right)

1/9/2017

BUG FIX - FREE AREA VISIBLE FOR STRATEGIES USERS

The free area tab was not visible to strategies users. This was fixed today.

1/9/2017

BUG FIXES - CHANGES TO CAV, VAV SETTINGS AND WARMUP CONTROLS

The following factors were changed which we considered to be bug fixes:

- For Central CAV systems and VAV systems the box position was remaining open at minimum turndown during "off" hours. This led to higher energy use and lower sizing. The VAV box minimum position when HVAC is off is now zero.

- Warmup time (referred to in the app as Setback to Setpoint Ramp Up time because it can also include cool-down) can be changed within the application and has been shown to be 1 hour but was actually operating at zero hours. This was changed so that a setting of 1 now means 1 hour warmup.

- The default warm-up time was changed to 2 hours after investigations into how effectively the buildings warm up with our current models.

1/6/2017

NEW FEATURE - ENERGY PIE REPORT

A reporting slide can now be downloaded for the Energy Pie Chart. The slide will show the view selected at the time and includes a table summarising the usage breakdown.

1/4/2017

FASTER LOADING OF PROJECTS PAGE

We improved caching for the projects page so the page loads faster.

12/29/2016

BUG FIX - ITERATION ORDER

The order of iterations was reported to not be retained on occasion for some customers and projects. Improvements to the code were released that should fix this.

12/28/2016

BUX FIX - REMOVAL OF DUPLICATED ZONES

Some models ended up having duplicated zones when set to one-zone-per-room. This happened in both SketchUp and Revit.

The previous work-around was to ignore zones to get the area corrected.

Duplicated zones are now removed, and this means that only the required zones are left in each model. Models which previously had duplicate zones which were ignored or which had space uses assigned are highly likely to now produce different and possibly incorrect results.

Models where users had duplicated zones produced zoning warnings showing the difference in floor area. If action was not taken to ignore duplicated zones then those projects should be expected to show lower energy and sizing results.

It is strongly recommended reviewing energy models where one zone per room had been applied as the zoning strategy.

12/28/2016

BUG FIX - ALLOCATION OF CORE AND PERIMETER ZONES

Some core zones were being incorrectly assigned as perimeter zones. This has been fixed.

This has some implications for existing projects as follows:

- Existing projects that incorrectly had core zones tagged as perimeter zones will now have the correct infiltration rates. This will change the energy and sizing results.

12/28/2016

BUX FIX - PERIMETER CORE ZONING ALGORITHM

The Perimeter / Core Zoning algorithm was changed and improved.

This has implications for existing projects as follows:

- Some existing projects where the zoning strategy was set to "Perimeter Core" which failed to generate zoning may now have perimeter core zoning applied which could affect results

- Existing projects where space uses were assigned to some perimeter zones may find that different perimeter zones have the space uses assigned. We recommend checking this.

12/24/2016

NEW FEATURE - FREE AREA CALCULATIONS

A new output tab undertakes free area calculations by zone and provides a visual pass/fail output on the floor plan based on a success criteria.

This is a very useful way to quickly see how close a design is to being compliant for natural ventilation before running any comfort calculations.

For more information, click this link.

 

12/23/2016

BUG FIX - CONSISTENT ROUNDING OF ENERGY RESULTS

There were small inconsistencies between the results published in the energy output tab and the results grid. This was caused by different rounding being applied at different times to results. This was fixed.

12/22/2016

IMPROVEMENT - DRILL-DOWN INTO MONTHLY CHART

It is now possible to drill-down into the monthly energy chart to see it as a view showing just one subset of energy use (eg heating, cooling, fans, etc).

To zoom back out, click again on the chart.

12/21/2016

NEW FEATURE - ENERGY COMPARISON REPORT

A reporting slide can now be downloaded for the Energy Comparison Chart on the Energy Tab. The slide will show the view selected at the time and includes a table summarising the usage breakdown. The view selected can include drill-downs like use type or energy metric (Eg cost, CO2 etc)

12/21/2016

BUG FIX - CRACK INFILTRATION

For projects that did not have natural ventilation enabled but did have crack infiltration enabled, the implementation applied an area-change infiltration rate rather than crack flow rate. 

This was fixed today.

12/14/2016

GROUP NAME EDITABLE AND SHOWS AREA

The group name now shows the area of the group and can be edited.

12/9/2016

NEW FEATURE - ENERGY SPREADSHEET DOWNLOAD

The breakdown of energy, cost and carbon values for all iterations can now be downloaded as a single spreadsheet.

12/9/2016

BUG FIX - ZONING DIAGRAM

The zoning diagram was not showing the correct zoning approach in some environments and this was fixed.

12/2/2016

GROUP NAME CHANGE

Group was previously called Bundle and this was changed today.

12/2/2016

NEW FEATURE - MONTHLY ENERGY CHART

In the Energy Output tab there is a new chart showing the monthly energy, cost and CO2 breakdown. This is located below the energy pie chart.

11/25/2016

BUG FIX - AREA WEIGHTED VALUES IN COMPARISON CHART CORRECTED

Area weighted values in the compare chart were sometimes calculated incorrectly and this was fixed.

11/24/2016

GROUPS INCLUDED IN COMPARE ENERGY CHART

The Compare Energy Chart now shows the results for Groups rather than the Iterations within the Group.

11/21/2016

GROUP FEATURE TO SUPPORT DETAILED BUILDINGS

Iterations can now be combined into a group that summarises the outcomes in the results grid. This is designed to support detailed buildings with aspects such as:

- Multiple envelope properties per orientation

- Multiple HVAC systems per building

- Masterplan sites with different buildings

More information is available via this link.

11/16/2016

PERCENTAGE DIFFERENCES ADDED TO ENERGY COMPARISON CHARTS

The Energy Comparison Chart now shows the percentage differences between each of the design iterations.

11/7/2016

RESPONSE CURVES AND COLLECTIONS FOR OPENNESS IN NATURAL VENTILATION

Free Area and Window opening factors are now changeable by orientation.

Response curves can now be run on window free area and openable proportion.

11/7/2016

MECHANICAL VENTILATION CONTROLS FOR NATURAL VENTILATION

There is a new set of controls in the Natural Ventilation tab that provides control over when the mechanical ventilation system activates in combination with the natural ventilation operation.

More information is available in this article.

11/4/2016

SETPOINT SLIDER RANGE CHANGE

We extended the range for the zone setpoint slider to have a maximum of 50C.

11/4/2016

DRILLDOWN FEATURE FOR ENERGY COMPARISON CHART

Click on sub-groups within the compare energy chart such as heating, cooling, fans etc to see the comparison of performance for the sub-group separately.

11/3/2016

CLEARER ACCESS TO TARIFF AND CO2 FACTORS

There is now a clearer link to change the cost tariffs and CO2 factors in the energy output tab.

11/1/2016

FLOOR AREA ON ZONING DIAGRAM NOW EXCLUDES IGNORED ZONES

Previously the floor area shown on all zoning diagrams included the area of ignored zones - it now excludes the area for all ignored zones.

10/28/2016

MULTI-SELECT ZONES FOR CHANGING SPACE USE

It's now possible to use CTRL or SHIFT to select multiple zones and change the space use for all at once in the zoning tab.

In addition, the cells that are selected are now highlighted so it's easy to see which ones are going to be changed in the plan diagram.

10/28/2016

NATURAL VENTILATION FEATURE

A new output tab has been added for Sefaira Systems and Strategies for Natural Ventilation.

The output tab enables you to apply some natural ventilation controls for perimeter zones and then see how the controls impact energy use and HVAC sizing.

The first iteration does not provide comfort outputs but lets you set up a natural ventilation system for your project.

Full details on the Natural Ventilation Feature are available via this link.

 

10/28/2016

LAYOUT CHANGE - ENERGY PIE AND COMPARISON 

The Energy Pie Chart and Comparison Chart were moved to a card layout to support more options and graphics in the future.

10/26/2016

BUG-FIX - ENERGYPLUS REPORT DOWNLOADS IN IP

There has been an issue for users downloading the EnergyPlus reports from the results grid when in IP units.

This has been fixed but only downloads if you are in Run-On-Demand mode. You can switch to Run-On-Demand in the settings (found in the top-right corner of the screen)

For information Sefaira runs all simulations in SI units. We convert outputs for the web-application. When you are in Run-On-Demand Sefaira will run 2 simulations in both units so this report can be downloaded.

10/25/2016

BUG-FIX - SPACE USE ASSIGNMENTS

There was a bug with Space Use assignment in the Zoning tab introduced with Share Project Outside Firm that affected some users.

These users were not seeing the correct space use options in the dropdown on the Zoning tab.

This has been fixed.

10/25/2016

STRATEGIES USERS NOW HAVE COPY PROJECT

The copy project feature on the Projects page is now available for Strategies Users as well.

This feature makes a full copy of the user's project including all iterations and configurations for each iteration.

10/20/2016

COMPARE ENERGY FEATURE

We've added a new feature to the Energy Output tab - Compare Options.

This feature generates a graph that we've heard many customers typically need to present as part of their work - a stacked bar chart with energy use for all their options.

This is now generated automatically and can be accessed by clicking "Compare" in the energy pie.

10/18/2016

GLAZING RATIO / WINDOW TO WALL RATIO REPORTED IN WEB-APP

The web-app has a glazing ratio override feature available to users in the Envelope tab.

Previously this would pre-populate the values with 0.4 as a default.

It now pre-populates the values with the actual glazing ratio imported from the 3D model. 

10/14/2016

CHOICE OF HVAC SYSTEM

The Strategies view of the web-app previously did not have any HVAC options available in the dropdown but the users were able to "manufacture" an HVAC system by selecting the right use type and region.

We've now made the 3 options available to users in the dropdown so Strategies Users can choose between these systems. They are:

- VAV with a rooftop package unit

- VAV with 100% outside air (for lab and healthcare buildings)

- 4-pipe Fan Coil Units.

Strategies users will still see other HVAC systems if a Systems user has selected them for a project.

10/10/2016

ZONE WARNING ERROR FIX

There is a zone warning error that pops up in the zoning tab whenever a zoning strategy is assigned and there are issues with that strategy.

We report this as a warning because we make adjustments to enable the model to keep running but want to alert the user to potential issues that would affect accuracy.

One warning compares the total zone area with the floor plate area and notes the difference. This helps alert a user to duplicated zones or filled holes.

The warning previously reported multiple errors per floor for some models. This has been fixed.

10/10/2016

IDF DOWNLOAD NOW ADDED TO STRATEGIES VIEW

The strategies view of the web-app now incorporates the idf-download button. This enables the idf file from any iteration to be downloaded.

10/10/2016

3D VIEW OF MODEL IN RESULTS GRID UPDATING PROPERLY

The web-app previously had a bug where if you changed the massing, the new image did not show up without a refresh. This also caused the user to see the old massing's floor plate on any "collections" feature.

This bug has been fixed.

10/6/2016

SCROLLING IN FLOOR PLAN VIEWS

Users with large models had commented that when a project has a lot of zones, it's hard to see the zone and the floor plan at the same time.

To address this we added a scrolling function to the zone list on all the floor plan views with a list of zones below.

This way you can see the zone information and the floor plate at the same time.

10/05/2016

PROJECT SHARING OUTSIDE FIRM

A lot of architects and engineers have been interested in a workflow where 2 customers can work together on the same project.

It is now possible to invite anyone to work on your project and if they have access, they will be able to see it.

To do this, go to "Manage Team" and select "Share Project Outside of Your Firm".

You will be prompted to enter an email address. Any email address entered will show up (to protect the privacy of users). If the email is a customer, they will have access based on their permissions. 

9/22/2016

NO HEATING AND ELECTRIC HEATING OPTIONS FOR VAV AHU

We've now added the ability to turn off the heating in the VAV air handling unit for both the VAV Rooftop Package Unit option (System 5) and the VAV with Central Plant option (System 7).

We've also added the ability to switch a heating hot water loop in VAV with Central Plant for an Electric coil.

9/16/2016

"RUN ON DEMAND" MODE

Some customers found Sefaira's automatic run confusing or frustrating and we also had identified issues where frequent changes over a short space of time could throw up red-box errors for users.

As a result we've set up a "Simulate when I click the Run Button" mode for users. This is available in the user settings. In this mode a run button will appear once changes have been made instead of having a run automatically commence. The user will then need to click run to get the simulate to start, meaning that lots of changes can be made without starting a new run.

 

9/15/2016

ENERGY COST PIE FIX

The cost for heating in the AHU where "Water" or "HHW Loop" was selected as the source of heat was not showing up in the COST view of the energy pie chart.

This has been fixed.

9/14/2016

DRAG AND DROP ITERATIONS

We observed that many customers created lots of iterations (clones) and then wanted to change the order of them to tell a better design story.

To make this easier, you can now drag and drop any iteration in the results grid so that you can have them in whichever order suits you best.

9/14/2016

UPLOAD TO EXISTING BUG FIX

We have fixed a bug relating to the "Upload to Existing" option when uploading a building form from SketchUp or Revit.

Previously forms added to an existing project used our old default values for material properties rather than the values from the plugin.

Now the material property values from the plugin are read and applied to a model uploaded to an existing project (this already happened for models uploaded to a new project).

9/7/2016

NEW INFILTRATION VARIABLE - CRACK FLOW

Infiltration can now be simulated by nominating the design airflow per perimeter length of window. (l/s per m of window perimeter in metric, cfm per ft of window perimeter in IP).

We're working on integrating natural ventilation into the product. This metric is required for any model that wants to use natural ventilation, which is why it's been added now.

9/7/2016

ZOOM AND PAN IN ZONE DIAGRAMS

We had feedback that users wanted to be able to better identify the zones in their model and that for some buildings the zoning diagram was not clear enough.

This improvement added zooming and panning to all zone diagrams to make it easier for you to identify smaller zones within a model or zones within a very large floor plate.

 

9/1/2016

ROOF GLAZING AND SKYLIGHTS NOW SUPPORTED IN SYSTEMS AND STRATEGIES

We've been making lots of improvements to our model interpretation workflow lately and it's great to be able to let everyone know that roof glazing is now supported in the web-application (and on the E+ version of our plug-in).

Planes tagged as glazing in SketchUp or Revit which are on the roof will now come through as roof glazing into the E+ model. There are some exceptions - heavily pitched roof glazing may be missed for very tall roofs but in most cases it should come through without a hitch.

There are also controls on the envelope tab to enable adjustment to the roof glazing assembly U-value and Solar Heat Gain Coefficient.

8/30/2016

NEW PIE COLOURS

We changed the colours in the energy pie chart for Systems and Strategies.

The purpose was to reduce confusion between heating and equipment. We'll be making further additions to this section too so watch this space.

8/19/2016

"GETTING STARTED" HEADER AND PROJECTS ADDED TO EXISTING ACCOUNTS WITHOUT RECENT USE

We'd had some feedback and observed that it can be hard to get started with Sefaira Systems which is why we made a recent update to the way new users get brought into the product.

We had a lot of requests to provide the same for older users who had not been able to have any success for whatever reason. 

Systems customers who had not used the software in the past 12 months were also provided with sample projects and a "getting started" header to make it easier for them to get going.

8/12/2016

ENERGY PLUS VERSIONING SUPPORTED

EnergyPlus (the engine used by Sefaira Systems) is updated on a 6-month cycle by the US Department of Energy. Until today all projects were running on version 8.3 which had been released in May 2015. 

On the project page you can now choose which version of EnergyPlus you want to use from the 3 most recent versions. All existing projects will remain on version 8.3 and all new projects will now be on the latest version, 8.5. Any project can be updated or reverted.

Generally speaking the latest version of EnergyPlus should be expected to run faster and have fewer bugs so it's a good option to choose if you're not sure.

 

8/12/2016

MORE OUTPUTS IN RESULTS GRID

A lot of customers have asked to be able to see HVAC energy as well as cooling and heating energy on an area-weighted basis reported in the results grid. This is particularly helpful for users who are doing passivhaus studies and want to see the annual area-weighted cooling and heating energy. This was added to the dropdown menu today.

7/29/2016

IMPROVED ON-BOARDING PROCESS FOR NEW USERS

We had found that many users struggle to get to their first run after being invited to use Sefaira Systems and we wanted to make it easier for new users to learn how to use Sefaira.

To do this we've made the following changes:

- New users given access to Sefaira Systems get provided with 3 sample projects and a building form library automatically when their account is created.

- After entering a password, new users are taken to the projects page where the case study projects and help links are provided in an easily accessible way.

For existing users this should make it easier for you to train up new users in your firm.

7/20/2016

IMPROVED ZONE WARNINGS

Sefaira Systems provides warnings to help users realise when our model interpretation process has ended up having a model with more zones or conditioned area than expected.

Previously these warnings have been confusing and were not executed well. We've tidied up the error to provide clearer feedback.

There are now two error types:

1) Perimeter Core Zoning Error - this happens when the floor plate shape crashes the perimeter core zoning algorithm. The warning informs the user that a single zone per floor zoning arrangement has been used instead.

2) Area difference Error - we run a test comparing the total zoned area against the gross area of the floor plate and let the user know where there is a difference and why this may be the case. In some instances two or more warnings can appear per floor - this is due to issues with model interpretation which are being addressed.

The goal of the improved warnings is to help you to decide whether or not to make more changes to the model (such as ignoring zones or doing work in 3D) before deciding whether the results are correct.

 

7/19/2016

COPY AND DELETE PROJECT FIXES

There were a substantial number of bugs identified with the Copy project - mainly reported with not all information being correctly copied across or some users reporting spinning that did not stop. Many of these issues were addressed including:

- Zone space use assignments are now copied

- Iterations and clones are copied in the correct order

- You can now get on with other things while a project copies or deletes

6/21/2016

ADD PROJECT DESCRIPTION

You can now add a project description on the Projects page (apps.sefaira.com)

6/23/2106

MORE RESPONSE CURVES

Response curves are one of Sefaira's most popular features. They enable you to run up to 10 simulations in parallel for 10 values of a single variable and then plot the performance of that variable against up to 2 outputs at a time.

We've now added the response curve feature to quite a few new items in the Systems web-application including:

- Lighting, Equipment and Occupant Density

- Ventilation Rates per person and per unit of floor area

- Rooftop Package COP

- Design Peak Specific Fan Power

- Supply Air Temperature from Central Air Handling Units (AHU)

- Heat Recovery Effectiveness for Central AHUs with heat recovery

Look for the response curve icon near any of the sliders or controls for the above.

6/15/2016

IGNORE ZONE

You can now ignore any zone in the model. How does this work - the zone information is completely removed from EnergyPlus. Walls adjacent to zones that still exist become adiabatic (no heat transfer occurs).

How is this useful?

- If your model makes more zones that you need, you can IGNORE the ones that you don't want. This is much faster than making changes to the model and is a workaround if your model has zoning issues such as accidentally duplicated rooms.

- If you have a building with 2 HVAC systems you can now create 2 iterations, one for each system and simply IGNORE the zones that don't apply to that system. You will then get the individual system components and energy. We know lots of customers want multiple systems in a project. This is an interim solution for those customers.

- If your model includes spaces like elevator shafts, atriums, unconditioned areas in their project you can now ignore them (the area gets deleted as well BTW). Ignoring should not create the errors that unconditioned sometimes causes in E+ with failures to converge due to surfaces getting too hot or cold.

 

6/8/2016

DOWNLOAD RESULTS GRID TO EXCEL

The results grid can now be downloaded in its entirety to an excel spreadsheet. 

This feature enables users to take a permanent record of the work they have done and also to generate charts and graphs from the comparative data more effectively.

To download look for the "Download Grid to Excel" link in the top left corner. After you have used it one it will only appear when your mouse is in the results grid area.

6/2/2016

 

NEW CONTROLS FOR AUTOMATED SHADING

New controls added for automated shading. User can now choose whether to control automated shading based on the solar gain on the glazing (default), the external air temperature or the internal air temperature and can adjust the thresholds for any of those components.

6/2/2016

IMPROVED VRF HEAT RECOVERY SETTINGS 

The heat recovery settings for the VRF options were changed to improve the zone to zone sharing of heat with this system type. The expected impact on projects is small.

6/2/2016

 100% OUTSIDE AIR VAV SYSTEM CONTROL CHANGES

We identified that in most projects the 100% Outside Air VAV system was operating more like a Constant Volume system rather than a Variable Volume system resulting in substantially higher energy results for many project applications.

We adjusted some of the settings sent to EnergyPlus that resulted in the system operating correctly.

For some projects this could substantially reduce operating energy for this system type.

5/25/2016

COPY PROJECT

Users can now copy a project on the projects page. This copies all iterations (Clones) in the project and all settings for each iteration.

When you click copy, it will ask you to choose a different location. This will affect the energy cost and CO2 tariff basis and currency and will also modify the weather file if you pick a different location.

If you choose a different location, the whole project will kick off a new simulation.

There is a known bug we are looking to fix for projects with a lot of clones or large models - all projects may not copy before receiving a time out warning (red box error). Ignore this and refresh after a few minutes as the project will still be copied in full. WE are working to eliminate this.

5/15/2016

IMPROVED DESIGN AIR FLOW DEFINITION FOR DOAS SYSTEMS

Before: The size of the DOAS Central AHU could only be set with an area-weighted value that was equal for all zones.

After: The size of the DOAS Central AHU can either be the area-weighted value or be based on the higher value of:

- Outdoor air per person plus outdoor air per unit area, or

- Total air change requirements

New projects uploaded from SketchUp default to the new value. Existing projects and projects uploaded from Revit still default to the DOAS AHU value.

 

5/14/2016

ENERGY IN RESPONSE CURVES

Energy use and cost are now included in response curve outputs.

5/6/2016

NEW SHADING INPUT TAB

This new shading feature provides users with a more intuitive way to interact with shading. It includes preset options and multiple automated shading device options.

4/20/2016

PUMPING ASSUMPTION CHANGES

We changed the way we determine ground loop and WSHP pumping energy to refine analysis outputs. This increased reported energy consumption for water-cooled VAV and WSHP systems.

 4/15/2016

EDITABLE CO2 FACTORS

Users can now edit the pre-determined values for CO2 emissions per unit of electricity or gas.

4/13/2016

OCCUPANCY SCHEDULES & VENTILATION

Ventilation operation schedules had previously been fixed from 8am-6pm Monday to Friday.

This was changed so now ventilation operates Monday - Friday, whenever a zone is "on" according to the HVAC schedule.

Note this change introduced a bug which was unnoticed for 2 weeks. During this time the outside air schedule was higher than it should have been for some projects, especially DOAS systems, and could have caused energy results from simulations at this time to be higher than expected.

 3/24/2016

ABILITY TO TURN OFF HEATING AND COOLING IN DOAS AHUs

You can now turn off heating and cooling in the air handling unit, to better analyse residential projects and simpler building types.

3/10/2016

TOTAL AIR CHANGES & OUTSIDE AIR CHANGES

Improved control of return air changes and outside air changes to enable users to simulate hospital and laboratory type projects.

3/8/2016

CO2 emissions can now be viewed in the Results Grid

2/29/2016

Option to add an automated external or internal blind to the model

2/16/2016

User provided with the option to ignore shading drawn or incorporated in the uploaded 3D model

2/5/2016

Support SketchUp 2016

 1/29/2016

Corrected a bug in the fan power sliders for some fan coil unit types

 1/28/2016

User is able to switch off the heating and cooling in the air handling unit, enabling them to properly analyse projects including many types of residential project and simpler building types

 1/13/2016

User can now account for energy impact of humidifying ventilation air in very cold climates. Was a contractual agreement with a customer.

1/6/2016

User can now adjust the energy tariffs used for the energy cost calculations in both views of the E+ web-app.

12/30/20215

Enable user to choose what type of infiltration measure they use to adjust and control infiltration in the web-application. Supports smoother importing of models from the plugin into the E+ web-app

9/25/2015

Revit curtain walls are no longer causing various models to time out.

9/3/2015

Improvements to SketchUp Zoning include better operability with EnergyPlus and support for a wider range of programmatic layouts.

9/1/2015

Revit Collections are no longer causing errors with uploads.

8/24/2015

Systems users can now include a simple Solar PV system in their analysis

8/3/2015

Added new system to mimic radiant slabs for heating and cooling

8/3/2015

Energy Pie chart can now be seen in terms of Energy Cost as well as raw energy

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